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Destination Whidbey Island Deception Pass


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Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island, in the northwest part of the U.S. state of Washington. It connects Skagit Bay, part of Puget Sound, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Deception Island
The Deception Pass area has been home to various Coast Salish tribes for thousands of years. The first Europeans to see Deception Pass were members of the 1790 expedition of Manuel Quimper on the Princesa Real. The Spanish gave it the name Boca de Flon.[1] A group of sailors led by Joseph Whidbey, part of the Vancouver Expedition, found and mapped Deception Pass on June 7, 1792.[2] George Vancouver gave it the name "Deception" because it had misled him into thinking Whidbey Island was a peninsula.[3] The "deception" was heightened due to Whidbey's failure to find the strait at first. In May 1792, Vancouver was anchored near the southern end of Whidbey Island. He sent Joseph Whidbey to explore the waters east of Whidbey Island, now known as Saratoga Passage, using small boats. Whidbey reached the northern end of Saratoga Passage and explored eastward into Skagit Bay, which is shallow and difficult to navigate. He returned south to rejoin Vancouver without having found Deception Pass. It appeared that Skagit Bay was a dead-end and that Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island were a long peninsula attached to the mainland. In June the expedition sailed north along the west coast of Whidbey Island. Vancouver sent Joseph Whidbey to explore inlets leading to the east. The first inlet turned out to be a "very narrow and intricate channel, which...abounded with rocks above and beneath the surface of the water".[4] This channel led to Skagit Bay, thus separating Whidbey Island from the mainland. Vancouver apparently felt he and Joseph Whidbey had been deceived by the tricky strait. Vancouver wrote of Whidbey's efforts: "This determined [the shore they had been exploring] to be an island, which, in consequence of Mr. Whidbey’s circumnavigation, I distinguished by the name of Whidbey’s Island: and this northern pass, leading into [Skagit Bay], Deception Passage".[4]

Plaque explaining the history of Deception Pass "Deception Pass - Named By Captain George Vancouver 10 June 1792. Feeling That He Had Been "Deceived" As To The Nature Of The Inner Waterway, Port Gardner (Now Saratoga Passage) he Wrote On His Chart "Deception Pass."

In the waters of Deception Pass, just east of the present-day Deception Pass Bridge, is a small island known as Ben Ure Island. The island became infamous for its activity of smuggling illegal Chinese immigrants for local labor. Ure and his partner Lawrence "Pirate" Kelly were quite profitable at their smuggling business and played hide-and-seek with the United States Customs Department for years. Ure's own operation at Deception Pass in the late 1880s consisted of Ure and his Native-American wife. Local tradition has it that his wife would camp on the nearby Strawberry Island (which was visible from the open sea) and signal him with a fire on the island's summit to alert him to whether or not it was safe to bring his illegal cargo ashore. For transport, Ure would tie the illegal immigrants up in burlap bags so that if customs agents were to approach then he could easily toss the bags overboard. The tidal currents would carry the discarded immigrants' bodies to San Juan Island to the north and west of the pass and many ended up in what became known as Dead Man's Bay.

View looking southwest
Between the years 1910 and 1914, a prison rock quarry[5] was operated on the Fidalgo Island side of the pass. Nearby barracks housed some 40 prisoners, members of an honors program out of Walla Walla State Penitentiary and the prison population was made up of several types of prisoners, including those convicted of murder. Guards stood watch at the quarry as the prisoners cut the rock into gravel and loaded it onto barges located at the base of the cliff atop the pass's waters. The quarried rock was then taken by barge to the Seattle waterfront. The camp was dismantled in 1924 and although abandoned as a quarry, the remains of the camp can still be found. The location, however, is hazardous and over the years there have been several fatal accidents when visitors have ventured onto the steep cliffs.
Upon completion on July 31, 1935, the 976-foot (297 m) span Deception Pass Bridge connected Whidbey Island to the tiny Pass Island, and Pass Island to Fidalgo Island. Prior to the bridge, travellers and businessmen would use an inter-island ferry to commute between Fidalgo and Whidbey islands.

Whidbey Island (historical spelling Whidby) is the largest of nine islands located in Island County, Washington, in the United States. Whidbey is about 30 miles (48 km) north of Seattle, and lies between the Olympic Peninsula and the I-5 corridor of western Washington. The island forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound. It is home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.


Whidbey Island is home to 58,211 residents (according to the 2000 census),[2] also known as Whidbey Islanders. An estimated 29,000 of Whidbey Islanders live in rural locations.
Whidbey Island is approximately 35 miles (56 km) long (from the extreme north to extreme south, and 1.5 to 12 miles (2.4 to 19 km) wide, with 168.67 square miles (436.9 km2),[3] making it the 40th largest island in the United States. It is ranked as the fourth longest and fourth largest island in the contiguous United States, behind Padre Island, Texas (the world's longest barrier island); Long Island (a fact disputed by residents[4]); and Isle Royale, Michigan[citation needed]. In the state of Washington, it is the largest island, followed by Orcas Island. - Craigslist

 

Destination Whidbey Admiralty Head Lightouse
Festivals:Whidbey Island hosts many festivals and celebrations throughout the year.
Island County Fair, which takes place the third weekend of August, includes rides, food, and animal shows.
Wag'n'Walk, which takes place towards the end of August, is Western Washington's premier celebration of all things Dog. It includes vendors, games, competition, demonstrations and the Wag'n'Walk itself.
Whidbey Island Kite Festival, in September
Langley's Mystery Weekend in March or February. For the weekend the Town of Langley turns into the setting of a fictional murder mystery.
Penn Cove Mussel Festival, which takes place in March, celebrates the bounty of the sea, especially the mussel.
Loganberry Festival at the Greenbank Farm in July
Maxwelton Beach Fourth of July Parade and fireworks show, which takes place at the southern end of Maxwelton Beach Road at Dave Mackie Park. After the parade, there are events for all ages, including three-legged races, divided into age groups, and the most popular event, the egg toss.

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